Canada Opens General Tire World Cup of Softball IX with Big Win over Japan
Published by Gilles LeBlanc
Published on July 07, 2014
(Irvine, California) The Canadian Senior Women’s National Team opened their General Tire World Cup of Softball IX schedule with a big 11-4 win in five innings against the reigning World Champions from Japan. Canada piled up 12 hits on a trio of Japanese pitchers and was able to string the hits together at the right moments to earn the run rule victory.
After a quick first inning with both teams going down in order, Jenna Caira (Toronto, ON) had a hard time finding the strike zone and walked the two first batters in the top of the second. The runners were sacrificed over to second and third before Eri Yamada hit a ground ball to second base, but the lead runner was thrown out at home. Catcher Kaleigh Rafter (Guelph, ON) then fired the ball to third and the second runner was caught in a rundown to end the threat. Building off the momentum on defence, Rafter led off the bottom of the inning with a homerun deep to left field as Canada opened the scoring. Megan Gurski (Dalmeny, SK) got things started again with a single just over the second baseman’s head, followed by a single up the middle by Carey-Leigh Thomas (Ohsweken, ON). A sacrifice bunt by Sara Hopwood (Surrey, BC) advanced the runners, and Erika Polidori (Brantford, ON) delivered a big three-run homerun to left to give Canada a 4-0 lead.
Looking to get back into the game, Japan was able to load the bases with two walks and a single off the pitcher by Yuka Ichiguchi in the top of the third, and Nozomi Nagasaki drove a double to score two runs for Japan. Caira was replaced by Sara Groenewegen (Surrey, BC), who induced a lineout and a groundout to get Canada out of the inning with a 4-2 lead. The Canadian bats went back to work in the bottom of the frame by loading the bases with one out on singles by Larissa Franklin (Maple Ridge, BC) and Jen Yee (North Delta, BC) and a walk to Gurski, but a hard line drive to first base led to an easy double play to keep Canada from adding to its lead.
Japan put the pressure on again in the top of the fourth with back-to-back singles by Minami Sato and Eri Yamada to start the inning, and after the runners were sacrificed to second and third Misa Okubo dropped a single into left field to score Sato from third. A hit by pitch loaded the bases before Ichiguchi hit a sacrifice fly to left field to tie the game at 4-4.
Looking to regain the lead, Hopwood hit a leadoff single but was quickly retired on a fielder’s choice. Two walks loaded the bases before Franklin hit into a fielder’s choice to shortstop with all runners advancing safely to push one run in to score. Yee singled in another run with a single to right field, followed by a sacrifice fly by Rafter and a single by Gurski to plate two more runs, giving Canada an 8-4 lead.
Sara Plourde (Fredericton, NB) came on in relief for Groenewegen in the pitcher’s circle to start the fifth inning and got three quick outs before Canada went on to score three runs to end the game in the bottom of the inning. The two first Canadian batters were retired on fly balls, but the red and white proceeded to load the bases on a pair of walks drawn by Megan Timpf (Port Dover, ON) and Victoria Hayward (Toronto, ON) followed by an infield single by Franklin. Yee delivered a two-run single, followed by another run-scoring single by Rafter as Canada took the 11-4 win on the run rule.
Offensively, Yee led the way with three singles, Rafter had a homerun and a single, and Polidori had a homerun with all three of them driving in three runs. Franklin and Gurski each contributed two singles and a run batted in, while Hopwood and Thomas each adding a single to round out Canada 12 hits. Caira allowed two runs on two hits and four walks with one strikeout in two innings and a third in the pitcher’s circle, while Groenewegen allowed two runs on three hits in an inning and two thirds, earning the win in the process. Plourde retired all three batters she faced with one strikeout.
Box Score: Canada 11 vs. Japan 4
Other scores at the General Tire World Cup of Softball IX on Monday were:
- Philippines 3 vs. Venezuela 0
- Venezuela 6 vs. Chinese Taipei 3
Team Canada (1-0) will be back in action on Tuesday when they take on Chinese Taipei (0-1) at 4:30pm PDT. For live scoring and webstreams, visit the event’s website.
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